Fred Miller Won’t Say if He’s a Member of Democratic Club Funding Ads Attacking Steve Bieda
The Philip A. Hart Democratic Club, which Is Affiliated with the Michigan Democratic Party, Has Spent at Least $75,000 on Negative, Inaccurate Ads against a Democratic Public Servant
MT. CLEMENS, MI — Democrat Fred Miller refused at a public forum here this week to say if he’s a member of the Philip A. Hart Democratic Club. The Mt. Clemens-based group, which is affiliated with the Michigan Democratic Party, has spent at least $75,000 on newspaper and mail ads supporting Miller’s candidacy for Macomb County Clerk and inaccurately attacking state Senator Steve Bieda (D-Warren), one of his Democratic opponents.
Miller, Bieda and Eva Tkaczyk took part in a July 12 Clinton Township Democratic Club forum for for Macomb County Clerk and Register of Deeds candidates at the Clinton-Macomb Public Library. Tkaczyk said she is not a member of the club and wasn’t familiar with it. After seeing its attacks in the race, Tkaczyk said she “wondered if they were Republicans.”
Bieda asked Miller at the forum if he was a member of the Philip A. Hart Democratic Club. Miller declined to answer. Under the Michigan Democratic Party’s bylaws, the Phil Hart Club is required to release its membership list, but has repeatedly refused requests to do so.
“If Fred Miller is a member of a group pouring tens of thousands of dollars into these despicable attacks against a fellow Democrat, he should have the courage of his convictions and tell voters the truth. The people of Macomb County have the right to know,” said state Senator Steve Bieda (D-Warren).
“And Democrats all across the state of Michigan have the right to know who’s a member of the Philip A. Hart Democratic Club, according to our state party rules. I have always believed in transparency, which is why I’ve sponsored legislation in the Michigan Legislature requiring politicians to disclose conflicts of interest. The Macomb County Clerk is the chief elections officer for almost 1 million people. After the turmoil of Karen Spranger, we can’t afford to have another County Clerk with huge ethical blindspots.”
Last week, Bieda filed a complaint with the Michigan Lottery Bureau against the Philip A. Hart Democratic Club, which is a federal political action committee (PAC), has a state bingo license issued under the Traxler-McCauley-Law-Bowman Bingo Act. Bieda said that the club had made a mockery of the act by using funds derived from bingo games to finance blatantly political advertising.
Bieda was named “Michigan Democrat of the Year” in 2017 by MIRS News. currently represents the 9th State Senate District that includes the communities of Center Line, Eastpointe, Fraser, Roseville, Warren, and a portion of Clinton Township, and has been a State Senator since 2011. From 2003 to 2008, Bieda served as State Representative for the 25th State House District, representing Warren and Sterling Heights.